Posted by: fvbcdm | April 24, 2012

Feast of Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen (24 April 2012)

A friend of mine subscribes to the Wall Street Journal, and occasionally sends me via email or regular mail one or more articles from that newspaper.  It is remarkably balanced in its journalism, and it finds the news of the universal Catholic Church or particular entities within the Church worthy of reporting.  Recently it reported that both Pope Leo XIII who was elected in 1878 and Pope Pius XI, elected in 1922, advocated the concept of subsidiarity in government.  These popes were talking about very modern principles of government before most of the world even knew what was meant by those terms. 

I can remember that when I was in college, one of our Jesuit professors told us the story that took place during the persecution of the Church by the Mexican government during the 1920s and 1930s.  A bunch of government thugs burst into the residence of the archbishop of Mexico City and began rifling through papers they found there.  They found bundles of papal encyclicals by the two popes, Leo XIII and Pius XI.  One of the government agents began to scan the documents and was amazed to find them agreeing with what he believed and advocated.  “Who wrote this stuff?” he demanded.  When he was told that two very recent Popes had authored it, he asked, “Why haven’t you promulgated it?”  The Archbishop replied that he considered it too radical, too dangerous. And the government agent replied: “You are a fool!  Had the Church in Mexico been in agreement with its own Popes, we could be friends today rather than enemies.”  To consider papal teachings either too radical on one hand or too reactionary on the other is not wise.  I don’t claim that everything the Pope says is infallible, but I do affirm that what the Vicars of Christ say and write is well worth very serious attention and is usually much more valid than some of its readers and hearers admit. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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